Looking out my bedroom window as a kid I had a great view of Manhattan. From our small Brooklyn apartment or more specifically my bedroom – which was the size of a glorified broom closet – I could see the majestic Manhattan skyline. It didn’t matter that I had to look past an old factory and several other small buildings because when the Twin Towers stand gloriously before you, anchoring the mammoth of concrete and glass that is NYC, all you can see is POSSIBILITY. You are breathing in opportunity and breathing out doubt. It’s like getting a private invitation to take on the world.
Sometimes I wonder if this glimmering reminder sitting outside my window is responsible for instilling confidence in me early on. Well, it was either that or my MA or a little of both. MA was always reminding me that I could do anything. Actually, it was more of a mandate than a reminder but that’s how my MA operates.
Confidence is a good thing. These days it’s a necessary thing. More than any other time in my life, even my days as a professional trying to move up the next rung on the workplace ladder, it’s NOW that I’m reaching deepest for that confidence. Why? Well, because my life has so many layers of crazy that some days I’m really not sure I’m able to do this thing. I’m smothered in CRAZY. There’s family crazy, kid crazy, school crazy, friend crazy – crazy is indiscriminate to every single facet of my world. And THIS is why I refer to my life as CRAZY TOWN. Thanks for stopping by, I bid you a hearty welcome!
On the surface, my CRAZY TOWN may seem pretty status quo. I’m a middle-aged momma, married to a middle-aged dad and we have two boys. There’s a house and a dog in the mix, along with the typical packed schedules and what not. But much like nouvelle cuisine, a base of “familiar” is kicked up a notch with an eclectic mix of the unexpected. For instance, there’s an extended cast of family characters and circumstances woven through my CRAZY TOWN that turns everything upside down. It’s sort of like sprinkling chocolate shavings on a platter of duck confit. At first you’re thinking “Duck Confit AND chocolate? This is just weird!” – but by your last bite you’re agreeing that it all kinda goes together. That’s my life and family. It goes together like…duck confit and shaved chocolate.
Another layer of said shaved chocolate definitely comes from my famliy’s culture. I’m Puerto Rican. A very pale, red-headed Puerto Rican – two concepts that seemingly negate each other. My parents were both born on this tiny Caribbean island that has more flavor and character than an entire continent fifty times its size. We’re BIG personality people. We’re LOUD and PROUD. And there are LOTS of us. I have more than twenty five first cousins. Everything we do is an instant party – including funerals. I’m so serious. Food and festivities are our go to and it never, EVER gets old. We can keep a fiesta going for DAYS people. Random dancing is literally like breathing air. It just happens. On your way to the bathroom? RANDOM DANCING WITH WHOEVER IS IN THE HALLWAY. It happens. It’s awesome and wonderful and although I look more Irish than Puerto Rican to some, I have immense pride in my heritage and all things Puerto Rican. These are MY PEOPLE – these are mi gente.
Speaking of my people – the base of this stockpot of CRAZY are my parents Ed and Edna. They are kind of like a Latino version of Ben Stiller’s parents from Meet the Fockers. For 57 years these two have navigated their tenuous relationship in a way that’s comedic, tragic and everything in between. They have perpetually teetered on ending their “love capade” for longer than I’ve drawn breath, but somehow they have this unbreakable commitment that borders on serving a jail sentence. Every interlude with them includes talking over each other, arguing, laughing, repeating everything twice and shouting. They are quite the spicy combo.
On the homestead there is the awesome hubbs who keeps me sane and laughing and together we parent our teen and tween who are basically Felix Unger and Oscar Madison. No – there is absolutely no stretch of the imagination in that description of our children. They are as different from each other as humanly possible so as to S T R E T C H our parenting skills like yoga positions that are LITERALLY KILLING US SOFTLY EVERY DAY.
Throw the tween’s exhausting ADHD in the mix along with his brother’s basic teen junk ON TOP OF all the rest of the CRAZY and there you have it. It’s a whole community working together as well as against itself to comprise what I affectionately refer to as my life in CRAZY TOWN.
My life is hard and easy, excruciating and fun – it’s YING and YANG in every possible way as to make sure I am continually on my knees and praying! Since I realize that no matter what the “flavor of the day” is – it’s good for us to share our experiences, spur each other on when we feel like we just wanna nap FOREVER in a fetal position or snap each other out of the ruts we fall into because LIFE IS CRAZY AND IT IS HARD. We need each other to remind us that LIFE IS ALSO GOOD and IT’S BETTER TOGETHER.
So I invite you to join in all this incredulous fun. I’ll be sharing RECIPES and PARTY IDEAS along the way because there’s a lot of that going on in between pulling my hair out as a mom and wife and all the other hats I wear each day. Remember I’m Puerto Rican so we can turn anything into a party.